10/12/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/12/2023 06:24
An ENEA team has patented an innovative process with low environmental impact to extract high quality oil from bakery waste to be used to obtain biolubricants and bioplastics.
The method, which is based on the use of soldier flies, i.e. the larvae of the dipteran Hermetia illucens, allows to recover, in controlled environmental conditions, up to 80% of the oil contained in biscuits - generally from sunflower seeds - which. not having been metabolised, maintains its high quality characteristics (high oleic).
"The larvae of the soldier fly convert organic waste into high-value biomasses like proteins and oils suitable for animal feed. At the same time they release a digested residue, useful to make compost and fertilizers for plant growth", explained Silvia Arnone, ENEA researcher at the Laboratory of Technologies and Processes for Biorefineries and Green Chemistry and author of the patent together with Francesco Petrazzuolo, Isabella De Bari, Massimiliano De Mei, Vito Valerio and Alessio Ubertini.
A device called "splitter" was designed to apply the method, which consists of a container with a perforated grid and a duct for conveying and collecting the oil, where the mixture to be split and the immature larvae are placed together.
The method can be profitable in terms of recovery of high oleic oil, whose market demand is growing, valorising an average 5% bakery product waste, which includes both unsold and unmarketable products as they are undercooked, burnt, broken or expiring.
"High oleic oil can be used to produce biolubricants for agricultural use, monomers for bioplastics and bioherbicides and can be transformed into polyols for the production of polyurethanes. All these bio-based products have a lower carbon footprint than fossil-based products," said Arnone.
Silvia Arnone, ENEA - Technologies and Processes for Biorefineries and Green Chemistry Laboratory, ////